Prison officials might appeal US judge's order

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Latest on a federal court ruling on the Illinois Department of Corrections' treatment of mentally ill inmates (all times local):
5:15 p.m.
A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Corrections says the agency will consider appealing a federal judge's ruling that mentally ill inmates in segregated cells get treatment and medication.

IDOC spokeswoman Lindsey Hess reacted on Monday to a ruling by U.S. District Judge Michael Mihm that the lack of treatment for 12,000 mentally ill inmates is unconstitutional "cruel and unusual punishment." His ruling came Friday.

Hess says a court-appointed monitor found "many significant improvements" to the prison system's mental health program. The monitor reviewed the system last year for compliance with a 2016 settlement on a class-action lawsuit.

She says the court also recognized that IDOC met settlement compliance with opening of a Joliet treatment center and building a residential treatment unit at the Dixon prison.
3:05 p.m.
A federal judge has ordered the Illinois Department of Corrections to provide mental health to inmates on "crisis watches" in segregated cells.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mihm issued the order dated Friday. He says thousands of seriously mentally ill inmates are suffering "irreparable harm" by serving time in segregation for behavior problems often linked to their mental illness.

Mihm says the inmates are left "at the mercy of the IDOC to provide them with the constitutionally minimal level of health care" which is "simply not being done."

A Corrections spokeswoman did not immediately respond Monday to a request for comment.

IDOC and lawyers representing 12,000 mentally ill inmates settled a lawsuit in 2016. A court-appointed monitor last year declared IDOC's psychiatric care as "grossly insufficient" and "oftentimes dangerous."

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